Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)

What is Face Lift ?

Also known as rhytidectomy, face lift is a surgical procedure that tightens the skin of the face to make it smoother. It tightens the tissues under the skin and sometimes excises some fat from the face as well. This procedure is usually performed on individuals over the age of 40.

This cosmetic procedure improves the face in the individual who has:

  • loose skin on the anterior neck
  • loose skin at the jawline
  • deep groove running from the side of the nostril down the corner of the mouth
  • excessive wrinkles
  • fatty deposits in the neck

This cosmetic procedure corrects the skin redundancy and restores a more youthful appearance to the face especially in profile.

This operation is appropriate for those who:

  • have no medical problems especially heart problems, high blood pressure and clotting problems, ie. bleed easily
  • do not have problems with keloids or bad scars from previous surgical experience
  • are not smokers (and if they are must be willing to stop three months before surgery)
  • have realistic expectations, positive outlook and specific goals to improve their body image

Where do I start?

An initial consultation with Dr. Thoma is a good point to start. In this consultation you will be informed about the procedure, and how this will enhance your appearance. At this consultation other ancillary procedures will be discussed such as the need for forehead lift, eyebrow lift or eyelid surgery. These additional procedures may enhance the result of your face lift. The consultation will include:

  • a discussion of your expectations and an assessment of your face
  • a discussion of the various techniques available for face lift and approaches to your problem
  • the expected outcome from this type of surgery and the possible complications
  • the nature of the incisions to be made and the position of the scars
  • the general plan for the surgery

At this consult you will be given the opportunity to ask any relevant questions regarding the procedure.

The Evaluation Process

The success of the surgery will depend to a great degree to your outlook on life and your physical health. These will be assessed during the initial consultation and in subsequent visits. The overall success of the surgery will also depend on the following:

  • the extent of sharing your expectations honestly with Dr. Thoma
  • you fully disclose your medical and surgical history, and any prescribed or “off the shelf” medications you take including herbal or vitamin supplements, alcohol, smoking or other drugs
  • your commitment to listen and follow Dr. Thoma’s recommendations and advice

Safety in Face Lift

If you follow Dr. Thoma’s instructions, then you will have taken an important step to ensure a safe procedure. Dr. Thoma is a certified plastic surgeon by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This certification designates surgeons who have trained in plastic and cosmetic surgery.

My Face Lift (Rhytidectomy)

Dr. Thoma will discuss with you the types of techniques used to rejuvenate your face. This surgery can have very dramatic improvement in your appearance. The sagging skin is expected to be tightened. Some of this excessive skin is removed from the front of the ears and behind the ears to conceal the eventual scars. The incisions follow natural creases and are strategically placed in areas where they become inconspicuous eventually. Parts of the scars end up in the hairline providing further concealment.

Preparation for Face Lift

Dr. Thoma will explain to you the operation that you and he have agreed will most likely provide you with the best cosmetic result. You will be given a prescription of an antibiotic and pain medications so you don’t have to worry about it on the day of the surgery. You will be told which activities are permissible and which are not after the surgery and for how long. You will also be educated on the care of your face until you recover. Instructions will be given to you on what to do in the event of an unlikely complication, such as infection or bleeding.

Expectation after Face Lift

The surgery will take place at St. Joseph’s Hospital. You will be going home the same day after recovering from surgery. This procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. If it is of limited nature it can also be done under local anesthesia with the anesthetist providing you with some sedation to keep you calm.

After Surgery

After surgery there will be dressings on your face and usually small drains to prevent body fluid collecting under the skin. You will be accompanied home by one of your relatives or friends. You will be given an appointment in the next 48 hours to remove the drains and another appointment, usually within one week. You are expected to sponge bathe and leave the face dressings dry until you are assessed by Dr.Thoma.


The recovery and healing process is a gradual one. You are expected to be up walking around the same day as the surgery. You need to avoid strenuous activities until you recover. Full unrestricted sports activities usually resume within 4 – 6 weeks.

Expected Result

 It is anticipated that you will notice immediate improvement in your face after the surgery. The final result will be evident to you within one month after the surgery once all the swelling has subsided.